User Stories

Cody Tries Ultimate Frisbee in FiveFinger Sprints

Cody wrote in to tell me about his recent experience testing out his Vibram FiveFingers Sprints for

Cody wrote in to tell me about his recent experience testing out his Vibram FiveFingers Sprints for Ultimate Frisbee. Here’s what he had to report:

Sunday I played my first game of ultimate in a few months. I have been coaching cross country and transitioned to running exclusivly in my FiveFinger Sprints. Throughout the week I was looking forward to my minimal shoe debut in my favorite sport.

First point we received the pull. 6’5″ Mike (and very fast to boot) was covering me. I slowed to get him off balance and then hopped up on my newly enhanced toes and burned him for a deep enzone catch.

VFFs: 1 — Tall fast dude: 0

Unfortunatly as you might guess the Sprints couldn’t hang with cutting on the defensive side of things. I could keep up and stop the long routes but no good covering handlers.

After the first few points I switched to my adidas football cleats and promptly cleated myself in my heavyfooted clumsiness.

As great as VFFs are, it’s not surprising that they don’t quite lock you into the earth like cleats. As for the idea I’m sure you’re all contemplating — cleated VFFs — I’m guessing they’d be just about impossible due to the rigidity required to make cleats function like tacks.

Thanks for the field testing, Cody!

By Justin

Justin Owings is a deadlifting dad of three, working from Atlanta. When he's not chasing his three kids around, you'll find him trying to understand systems, risk, and human behavior.

8 replies on “Cody Tries Ultimate Frisbee in FiveFinger Sprints”

I wondered if cleats would work on the euro lace-up style of VFF? Seem like they could provide the needed security.

I think the problem is that cleats have to be hard to puncture the ground and lock you into your steps. This hardness in turn requires a hard “upper” — therein lies the problem. How do you have a flexible VFF upper while having a hard cleat attached to it? Maybe a podded variety of VFF could do it?

I was very surprised earlier this week when I slipped on the wet tile step leading into my house. My VFF Sprints had zero traction on the wet tile and I smashed the toes of my other foot into the tile as I struggled to regain my balance (while holding my little girl).

I’m hopeful that the new KSO Treks will provide some better level of traction for slick wet surfaces.

I tried doing a hard cutting/sprinting/agility workout session on pavement a couple of weeks ago, and it just doesn’t work in VFF’s (KSO’s). I got a couple of blisters on my big toes, and had top-of-foot pain from gripping the pavement with my toes and pushing off and trying to stop. I can only imagine ultimate was the same experience, unfortunately.

I guess the human body wasn’t made for such hard cutting movements, which can be verified by the number of ACL and other like injuries incurred from ultimate/soccer/football etc.

I just tried my VFF Sprints in ultimate, 3rd day owning them.
They held up, but on really hard cuts, I lost traction on the astroturf and I would go down hard. I think I’ll move back to my cleats next week, but I’ll keep the VFFs for the rest of the stuff.

I think a few “pressure point” cleats would be doable. If not a cleat, then a nub or something. At the base of the pad of the tip big toe and the meaty pad of under the big toe as well as the pad under the other four toes and maybe one on the outer ridge and a wider nub/cleat on the heel.

I just ran in an adventure race and used my VFFs (which i wear pretty much every day and have for over 2 years now). The shoes cleaned faster than others but I had a hard time getting a good grip.

All in all, great shoes! I wear KSOs and a pair of KSO Trek.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *